Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis

Front Cover
“A lush Narnia tale for grownups”: The first comprehensive biography of the rebel thinker who married C. S. Lewis (Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize winner).
If Joy Davidman is known at all, it’s as the wife of C. S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia. On her own, she was a poet and radical, a contributor to the communist journal New Masses, and an active member of New York literary circles of the 1930s and ’40s. Growing up in a family of Jewish immigrants in the Bronx, she became an atheist, then a practitioner of Dianetics, and finally a Christian convert after experiencing a moment of transcendent grace. She was also a mother, a novelist, a screenwriter, and an intelligent, difficult, and determined woman. In 1952 she set off for England to pursue C. S. Lewis, the man she considered her spiritual guide and her intellectual mentor.
Out of a deep friendship grounded in faith, poetry, and a passion for writing grew a timeless love story, and an unforgettable marriage of equals—one that would be immortalized in the film Shadowlands and Lewis’s memoir, A Grief Observed.
“Plumbing the depths of unpublished documents, Santamaria reveals the vision and writing of a young woman whose coming of age in the turbulent thirties is both distinctive and emblematic of her time” (Susan Hertog, author of Anne Morrow Lindbergh: Her Life). Finally, Joy Davidman is brought out of her husband’s shadow to secure a place in literary history that is both a long-time coming and well-deserved.
“This book gives Davidman her life back. . . . Ms. Santamaria succeeds in de-mythologizing Davidman’s story.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Compelling . . . clear, unsentimental.” — The New York Times Book Review 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bness2 - LibraryThing

I have always been fascinated with who Joy was as a person. She swept Lewis off his feet, and looking at her before Lewis life it seems amazing that the two would hit it off. Some of her ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - akblanchard - LibraryThing

Joy Davidman spent her life searching for heaven on earth, and she found it just before her death from cancer at the age of 45, in her unlikely marriage to Christian apologist C.S. Lewis. Her last ... Read full review


1 18921930
2 19301934
3 19341938
4 19381939
5 JuneDecember 1939
6 19391942
7 19421944
8 19441946
11 August 1952January 1953
12 January November 1953
13 November 1953April 1954
14 Fall 1954October 1956
15 Fall 1956Fall 1957
16 19581960
Back Matter
Back Flap

9 19461950
10 19501952
Back Cover

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2015)

Abigail Santamaria earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University and has been awarded fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation, Jentel Arts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives in New York City with her family. Joy is her first book.

Bibliographic information